Posts Tagged ‘Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights’

Report of the Nelson Mandela Human Rights Lecture 2019

July 24, 2019

Panelists at the 2019 Nelson Mandela Human Rights Lecture

The Nelson Mandela Human Rights Lecture was held at the Graduate Institute 18 July 2019 [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/07/12/nelson-mandela-human-rights-lecture-in-geneva-on-18-july-2019/]. For the lecture, Michelle Bachelet, United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Albie Sachs, Former Judge of the South African Constitutional Court, were present to share their incredible personal experiences of fighting for human rights.

Establishing the Rule of Law in South Africa as a form of ‘Soft Vengeance’ against Apartheid

A piece of paper, a body, a voice and the dreams of millions of people, including our hope; for those of you in the audience, that’s my text for today’, began Mr Sachs, who had fought against apartheid since age 17, was appointed by Nelson Mandela to the Constitutional Court of South Africa in 1994 and played a critical role in the creation of the first draft of South Africa’s Bill of Rights, adopted in 1996 by the South African parliament as an integral part of the South African Constitution. Mr Sachs explained that his efforts to establish a rule of law in South Africa were a form of ‘soft vengeance’ against apartheid, exemplified through his own, personal tribulation. On 7 April 1988 in Mozambique, as a result of a car bomb, he lost his right arm. …Commenting on the trial of one of the accused car bombers, Mr Sachs said, ‘My vengeance will be if the person receives a fair trial, and if his guilt is not beyond doubt, will be acquitted, because this will prove that we will have established the rule of law’.

Standing Up and Acting for Change

Michelle Bachelet recounted her own experience as a human rights defender. She told of dictatorship in Chile, the torture and killing of her father and her mother’s detention. In defiance of the anger she felt at her family’s situation, she found the perseverance to stand up and act for change, becoming the first woman President of Chile (dually elected), then Executive Director of UN Women, and eventually replacing Zeid Raad Al Hussein in 2018 as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

‘[…] the world today faces complex challenges, challenges too big for one country, challenges that do not respect borders’, she said. ‘[…] And we see a pushback on human rights. And I say, let’s pushback the pushback’.

Nelson Mandela Human Rights Lecture Michelle Bachelet

Video of the Lecture. You can watch here the Nelson Mandela Human Rights Lecture in its entirety.

https://www.geneva-academy.ch/news/detail/247-human-rights-warriors-tell-their-stories-at-the-nelson-mandela-human-rights-lecture

 

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights upgrades it armed conflict portal

February 18, 2017

Homepage of the Rule of Law in Armed Conflict Portal

This version entails new and updated armed conflicts, as well as a map allowing visitors to search armed conflicts and parties to these conflicts via multiple filters. ‘The map offers visitors a more intuitive approach: they can visualize where conflicts take place and where parties to these conflicts are’ underlines Sandra Krähenmann, Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy. ‘We clearly see, via the map, that while most armed conflicts are taking place in the Middle East and on the African continent,, parties to these conflicts are from across the world’ she adds.

As a legal reference source for a broad audience, RULAC is regularly updated to integrate new armed conflicts and developments. Today, RULAC monitors more than 13 situations of armed conflicts: 2 military occupations, 2 situations of international armed conflicts and 9 situations of non-international armed conflicts. These conflicts are taking place in 9 countries: Central African Republic, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine and Yemen.

For each armed conflict, RULAC provides the factual and methodological basis for its classification, and identifies the parties and the applicable international law. The portal also includes sections on the definition and categories of armed conflict under IHL and the legal framework governing armed conflicts.

Armed Conflict in Syria

While there are many different definitions of armed conflict used for different purposes, the question whether a situation of armed violence amounts to an armed conflict under IHL has important consequences. States involved in armed conflicts have rights and duties that do not exist in times of peace. The classification of situations of armed violence is fraught with difficulties. Many states deny that they are involved in armed conflicts, arguing instead that they are engaged in counter-terrorism operations. Others apply IHL to situations that do not amount to an armed conflict. Moreover, contemporary armed conflicts are increasingly complex due to the multitude of state and non-state parties involved. Based on open source information, RULAC provides an independent and impartial assessment that identifies situations of armed conflict under IHL. It is intended to assist other actors that may want to classify situations of armed violence for their purposes. By making such information available to a broad, non-specialist audience, including by using visual tools, the RULAC project strives to promote a more coherent approach classifying conflicts, and, ultimately, to foster implementation of the applicable legal framework, a key element for accountability and the protection of victims.

Source: Detail – The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

THE IMPACT OF COUNTER-TERRORISM LAWS AND POLICIES ON IHL AND HUMANITARIAN ACTION

January 25, 2017

Counter-terrorism is a major concern of many governments today. Since 9/11 and more recently after the attacks in Belgium, France, Germany, Lebanon, Tunisia or Turkey, states have adopted new counter-terrorism measures and legislation intended to address the threat of terrorism.

The steps taken are diverse, ranging from surveillance to emergency legislation as well as the use military force against designated terrorist groups abroad. In some instances, more restrictive conditions of financing and the risk of criminal sanctions in cases of ‘material support’ to listed terrorist organizations – a notion which has been broadly interpreted by US case law- have impacted the implementation of certain IHL rules as well as humanitarian assistance. This has reduced the scope of action of humanitarian agencies and NGOs.

In that context, this third IHL Talk on 26 January 2017 will discuss the legal regime governing terrorism, in particular how IHL addresses acts of terrorism and what is the relationship with other international treaties. More generally, experts will discuss the legal and operational challenges counter-terrorism has created for IHL and humanitarian action.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER

Ambassador Valentin Zellweger, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations and the other international organizations in Geneva

MODERATION

Gunilla von Hall, Foreign correspondent in Geneva for the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet

PANELISTS

Sandra Krähenmann, Research Fellow, Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

Carla Ruta, Legal Adviser, Geneva Call

Where?  Villa Moynier, 120B Rue de Lausanne, Geneva

Source: Upcoming Events – The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

Graduate Institute in Geneva celebrated human rights defenders with meeting and march

June 24, 2016

To mark the tenth anniversary of the Human Rights Council, the Graduate Institute, together with the European Union Delegation to the UN and the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, held an event on 15 June to honour Human Rights Defenders across the world. [see; https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2016/06/13/15-june-2016-human-rights-defender-berta-caceres-academy-geneva/]

The debate, moderated by Professor Andrew Clapham, featured Human Rights Defenders Taslima Nasrin and Aida Khemiri, as well as Stavros Lambrinidis, EU Special Representative for Human Rights.

“Too many people are dying for protecting human rights,” Mr Lambrinidis said, while promising that “the EU is committed to defending the defenders.”

“There is a price on my head,” revealed Taslima Nasrin, a Bangladeshi author and blogger who has been targeted by radical Muslim groups who have condemned her writing as blasphemous. “It’s been 22 years since I have been allowed to return to my country, not even in times of sickness and death of my closest family.”

Aida Khemiri, an LGBTI activist from Tunisia drew attention to the psychological challenge of having to lie to her friends and family for their protection. “As a Human Rights Defender, I have to live a double life. I cannot tell my family all I am doing, I have to protect them.

Following the debate, participants and panelists marched past the UN Palais des Nations to express their support to Human Rights Defenders who were not able to walk freely. The event concluded at the Ariana Museum, with a spectacular show of the Violonissima Duo, performing from a hot air balloon. A playlist with photos from the event can be found through the link below.

Source: Standing up for human rights defenders

15 June 2016: a good day to reflect on what it takes to be a human rights defender

June 13, 2016

Wednesday 15 June marks the global day of action calling for justice for Berta Cáceres, an indigenous Lenca woman and environmental human rights defender in Honduras who was assassinated earlier this year [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/exceptional-response-from-ngo-world-on-killing-of-berta-caceres/ ]. Her organization COPINH (Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras) called for this global day of action where people all over the world will be holding demonstrations and protests at Honduran consulates and embassies.

Her case should inspire the Panel discussion held the same day, 18h00 – 18h45, under the title “What does it take to be a human rights defender ?, organised by the European Union Delegation to the UN and the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in the Maison de la Paix, Geneva. Read the rest of this entry »

Training Programme on how to work in the UN Human Rights Council: 2 – 6 February

January 14, 2015

The Graduate Institute and the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights organise jointly a training course specially designed for diplomates and NGO representatives in the UN Human Rights Council. The classes are on 2 – 6 February 2015 in the evenings from 15h30 to 19h15 in the Villa Barton, Geneva (final timings to be confirmed). The fee is  CHF 950. – (excludes housing).

Excerpts from the brochure:

Multilateral diplomacy in the advancement of Human Rights (primarily through the Human Rights Council) is one of the main activities of International Geneva.  Established in March 2006, the Council is now a well-established mechanism of the United Nations and is approaching its 10th year–yet the individuals who engage at the Council sessions often change, and they often juggle a larger portfolio of responsibilities.Human Rights Council

Everyone benefits when the Council functions better, and the council functions better when individuals arrive fully prepared to contribute at their best.

This reflects the non-partisan spirit in which this training has been designed.  Preparing for high-level professional engagements requires a deep understanding the rules of the council–as well as the personal acumen to advocate and negotiate with good judgment and strong communications skills–all of which comes from familiarity, practice and individual preparation for the Council sessions.

In order for delegates and representatives to better tackle the substantive and practical challenges ahead, we are offering this training program for individuals who aspire to perform more effectively in a multilateral context.  The programme is designed to enhance personal skills in multilateral diplomacy, with a particular focus on the human rights context.

Learning Themes

While taking examples on the work of the HRC and its special procedures, the training will highlight some of the prevailing substantive issues as well as the behaviors of the Council, in order to teach participants to better navigate in their aspirant work.  The training will be organised around the following themes:

Functioning of the Human Rights Council:

The phenomenon of working within and across “groupings”:

Leadership in the Human Rights Council:

Learning outcomes & skills-building

  • Functioning and rules of the Human Rights Council
  • Chairing formal and informal multilateral meetings
  • Drafting skills (in the Human Rights context)
  • Negotiation and mediation skills & techniques
  • Oral communications skills for public speaking “on the record” in the human rights context
  • Advocacy and lobbying techniques

Methodology

The training will combine some theory, background and insights (about negotiations, the HRC and its functional history) with applied skills and techniques–including best practices and opportunities to enhance personal effectiveness.  Sessions will be designed to address cross-cutting issues and will build participant skills through simulation exercises, small group breakouts, and role-playing.

Instructors will include those from the Graduate Institute and Geneva Academy, as well as actors working with (or in the domain) of the Human Rights Council.

http://graduateinstitute.ch/fr/home/executive/training-workshops/multilateralism-winter/multilateralism_winter_programme.html.

The outcome of the treaty body strengthening process: workshop on 9 May 2014 in Geneva

May 6, 2014

While not directly about Human Rights Defenders, this workshop organised by the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN and others (see below) is of great importance to HRDs as they are the ones who provide most of the information to the Treaty Bodies, and are often the victims of the violations reported, including reprisals against them for having cooperated. Thus, this meeting on “The outcome of the treaty body strengthening process: Lessons learnt, implications and implementation” should be of interest to all. It takes place on 9 May 2014, 9.30am to 1pm in Room XXII, Palais des Nations, Geneva. Read the rest of this entry »

Antonio Cassese Summer School on Transitional Justice and Human Rights in July

April 3, 2014

The Antonio Cassese Initiative for Justice, Peace and Humanity and the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights open their application process for the Summer School 2014, which will take place from 7 – 11 July 2014 in Geneva.  The 2014 Antonio Cassese Summer School offers an intensive course on transitional justice principles and processes, with a special focus on post-conflict situations. Based on both scholarly and practitioner expertise across a range of areas (including human rights, international criminal law, security reform, legal philosophy, gender politics) and country situations, the programme combines a general course on transitional justice with complementary topic-specific lectures. The general course will be delivered by leading transitional justice scholar Naomi Roht-Arriaza, Professor of law at the University of California.

To know more about the programme and prices, download the flyer: http://www.geneva-academy.ch/docs/events/Summer%20school%20Flyer%20FINAL.pdf

 

Right to Privacy in the Digital Age: 24 February expert seminar in Geneva

February 17, 2014

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights,  is organising an expert seminar on The Right to Privacy in the Digital Age, a topic of great importance for human rights defenders.  It will take place on Monday 24 February 2014, in room XXI in the Palais des Nations, Geneva. It purpose is to examine the international human rights law framework of the right to privacy, and identify challenges raised by modern communications technologies; foster understanding of how the right to privacy is implemented by governments, as well as addressed by the private sector and civil society; examine the extent to which domestic and extraterritorial surveillance may infringe on an individuals’ right to privacy; and  identify ways forward to ensure the protection and promotion of the right to privacy.

Registration: Owing to limited space, reservation is recommended as soon as possible: alice.priddy[at]geneva-academy.ch.  Please note that a live streaming of this seminar will be webcast. Read the rest of this entry »